When you take over as owner or manager of any business that has a commercial kitchen, you must adhere to municipal health standards to avoid pricey fines or even getting closed down. One of the main areas of health code compliance for commercial kitchens is grease trap maintenance.

The purpose of the grease trap is to keep the fat and oil from food from entering the local sewage system and clogging up municipal pipes. If you are a newbie to grease trap maintenance, the following guide provides you with some essential tips on keeping the device in good condition and in compliance with health codes.

Make Sure You Have the Right Size and Type of Grease Trap

If you inherit an old grease trap and need to purchase a new one, you need to make sure you buy the right size device. Grease traps consist of large double-walled metal tanks that will collect oil and greasy solids before they can enter drains. If your grease trap is too small, you risk having grease and oil overflowing from the top of the device and onto your kitchen floor, causing a big mess.

How many customers you serve daily and the size of your kitchen sinks will impact what size grease trap you purchase. Depending on the volume of your business, you may need to purchase a grease trap for your commercial dishwasher as well.

Some municipalities provide detailed guidelines for business to help with grease trap selection. If you still need assistance choosing the right type and size, seek the advice of contractors that specialize in installation and cleaning of grease traps in order to make sure that you purchase an appropriate device.

Keep the Grease Trap in Good Condition

While a grease trap should work without incident in between appointments to get it pumped by professionals, there are a few things you can do to help keep it in good condition.

Over time the exterior of the grease trap may collect debris on the surface. Wash the grease trap regularly with soap and water to keep dust and grease from building up on the sides of the device. If you fail to keep the outside of the grease trap clean, the layers of dust and grease will begin to smell.

You should also ask your grease removal contractor to teach you how to inspect the device yourself in case it malfunctions at an inconvenient time. While you want to leave the fixing and pumping the device to professionals, you should learn how to safely remove the grease trap cover in case it begins to overflow due to a blocked pipe. You can remove the standing water and substances so they do not spill over onto your floor.

Learn Municipal Regulations

While municipal laws are not interesting reading material, it is in your best interest to learn the regulations that pertain to grease trap inspections so you are never caught off guard by inspectors or unknowingly commit violations.

Some cities require grease traps inspections once a year. The device will also be inspected before you even open your business in the routine pre-opening inspections that cities mandate for food establishments. Some towns will even give you an inspection checklist so you know what to expect.

If you have the wrong type of grease trap or failed to upgrade an old device that you inherited from a previous owner, your restaurant opening could be delayed. In addition, your town will have rules on how often you need to get your grease trap pumped by a licensed grease trap cleaning service.

The best way to avoid any issues and the possibility of a fine is to have a contractor inspect the device before the municipal inspectors arrive. You will have time to correct any issues or install a new device before the official inspection.